Rochester teens take a stand against violence

Local News

Rochester, NY (WROC)- Success Beyond Negativity, a youth-led initiative in Rochester, held a rally Saturday in front of city hall, calling for an end for violence in the city.   

The group’s president Emoni Barnes lost her first friend when she was 12 and since then she says she lost 4 more.  

She started Success Beyond Negativity 4  years ago to spread awareness about the violence that she sees every day. 

“We all lost friends, in our same age group. So we basically don’t want that to happen no more and we want to put a stop to it. We don’t want our friends killing each out no more,” said Emoni Barnes, President of Success Beyond Negativity.

The march started at city hall. Participants wore white to honor those they’ve lost. At the end, youth talked about the violence they’ve experienced.  

Several booths were set up with community resources like job training, and educational programs. 

Other anti-violence groups, like Rise up Rochester were also there. 

 “Oh, this is very refreshing to see young people taking a stand against violence. So, we are here to support every effort that it takes to bring an end to violence in our community,” said Freddie Hines, Rise up Rochester.

“This is what we need more of because I think youth speaks to youth and they hear their voices, they don’t just listen but they actually hear what’s going on and hear from each other and I think they can provide action,” said Rochester City Police Cheif La’Ron D. Singletary.

For Emoni, she hopes the rally inspires change in the community and brings the youth together. 

“I’m hoping to get the community all on the same page, I want everything to be better, we got a lot going on right now and we just want to stop it,” said Barnes.

Success beyond Negativity is planning more events throughout the year and want to add to their 15 member organizations. 

Anyone with ideas or looking to join can contact Emoni Barnes at 585-746-1564 or email

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